Dell is keen to keep building trust with its resellers, and despite a blip earlier this year when UK channel manager Andy Dow left the firm, its channel plans seem to be on track.
Greg Davis, vice president of global commercial channels at Dell, said: “When we formalised our channel programme 18 months ago it was really a formalisation of a number of things we have already done. We are constantly working on how we can continue to enhance and grow certification.”
In the past month there has been a flurry of activity from Dell with its PartnerDirect programme, from the launch of its managed services push to the lowering of thresholds on its deal registration scheme.
Under this scheme the threshold for PartnerDirect deals will be lowered from
£30,000 to £20,000 and a new threshold introduced for storage deals of £10,000.
Davis added that the vendor plans to revamp its partner portal later this year based on partner feedback. The most important issue to Dell is keeping channel trust.
“You can lose trust a lot faster than you can build it,” he said. “When we first talked about the channel it was a multi-year strategy. We are committed to building and growing relationships with channel partners and continue to use our partner advisory councils to help us shape our channel programme. Looking back, I think we have made a major accomplishment already.”
When questioned on the role of distribution for Dell, Davis was open minded. The vendor currently works with Hammer and Micro-P in the UK on specific product lines.
“Part of the value-add for us is our direct relationship with resellers, with them taking advantage of our build-to-order models,” said Davis. “There are also customers out there that need fixed configuration and we have four distribution relationships across Europe and two larger relationships with Ingram and Tech Data in the US, which cover that.
“Distribution offers other advantages such as additional credit lines. I see a lot of benefits for our partners if we want to grow that further. We will continue to listen to our partners [on distribution].”
James Ward, managing director of Hammer, said the relationship has gone from strength to strength.
“Since becoming an authorised Dell distributor, our server sales have grown extensively,” he said. “As a branded server provider, Dell continues to be an ideal fit for Hammer’s portfolio.”
Dell’s reseller partners were also quick to praise the vendor’s efforts.
Terry Betts, managing director of CCS Media, said: “I’m happy with what Dell is up to. Its programme is constantly evolving and it listens to partners. If we say something is not right, Dell will change it nothing is cast in stone. If I want to speak to a Dell executive I can. It is not perfect, but it is a lot better than some of the other vendor programmes out there.”
Dan May, operations director at Ramsac agreed that Dell was doing a good job for its partners.
“Since the launch of PartnerDirect we are seeing quite a lot in terms of support certainly more than we would expect from a vendor of Dell’s size. The regular partner days are also useful and allow us to get our opinions across.”
May said Dell’s approach was similar to Microsoft’s where both vendors are embracing the smaller, value-added partners.
“Neither vendor needs resellers to just sell kit, what is important is the ability to add value and services and drive business that they perhaps would not have won in the past,” he added.
Cliff Fox, managing director of Certified partner SICL, agreed.
“We have been a Certified Partner for just eight months but have enjoyed significant success in that time,” he said. “Dell has made a substantial contribution to SICL’s fourth successive record year. It is an excellent partnership which can develop further still.”
Mitchell Feldman, sales director at The Internet Group (TIG) also praised Dell, but said there were still some bones of contention.
“One of the biggest problems is that we sometimes feel we are competing against Dell because the public can go directly to Dell and buy kit at the same price as its partners,” he said.
“The recent deal registration change will help, but something needs to be done so the channel can always buy products cheaper than consumers. There is no magic wand that can be waved, but it is an issue Dell needs to address. Apart from that we are very happy.”
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